Every day, technology continues to advance in strides, especially when it comes to creating safe and efficient handicap accessible vehicles. With the help of hand control advancements, both mechanical and electronic, it is becoming simpler for drivers with disabilities to travel. However, before going out and purchasing any type of modified controls for a vehicle, it’s important to know exactly which hand controls are right for you and your particular needs to ensure in control behind the wheel.
What type of hand control options are available?
Hand controls are designed to help drivers with limited or no use of their legs to operate the vehicle by using devices to control both the steering wheel and the accelerator and brake. Mechanical hand controls include a spinner knob, which you position and adjust to your liking on your steering wheel, allowing drivers to steer with one hand, while the other hand is free to control the lever that is connected to the accelerator and brake. The accelerator and brake handle works by pulling it down to accelerate and pushing it forward to brake.
Other hand control options include electrical controls. An accelerator ring, which is a halo-like device that can be placed on any steering wheel, turns with the steering wheel and the amount of pressure being placed on the ring controls the speed of the car. The brake function is controlled by a lever located on the side of the steering wheel that can be installed either on the left of the right depending on the comfort of the driver.
Which kind of controls fit your needs?
Decision-making can be overwhelming, especially when there are different hand control options out there to choose from. Luckily, a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist can help you determine what type of hand control is best for your mobility needs, as well as let you test each hand control option to evaluate their efficiency. These specialists can also recommend other kinds of adaptive technology to make your time behind the wheel safer and more comfortable.
How do I install mobility equipment?
Installation of hand controls or any other type of adaptive mobility equipment should always be done by Qualified Assurance Program (QAP) accredited professionals. Once you’ve determined what type of equipment is right for you, contact your local NMEDA dealer to determine how you can go about implementing these technologies within your current vehicle, or if you would need to purchase a new or used vehicle in order to be able to install this type of technology.
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our mobility equipment dealers.